The Problem of Fame

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How to Handle Fame

Three Parts:

Whether you're a celebrity, a politician, a MySpace star, or a well-known author, you might be uncomfortable with being in the public eye. Fame comes with lots of challenges and responsibilities that can be addressed by preserving a strong sense of self and solid boundaries between your life and the public. Follow these steps to use your fame for greater good while still taking care of your own well-being.


Coping with Pitfalls of Fame

  1. Reflect on the nature of your fame.Since being famous is a sought after position, it can be difficult to really take stock of the ways that fame is affecting you. Wanting to cope with the difficulties and effects of fame is not something to feel guilty about; while being famous is a privilege, it still has pitfalls that should be addressed. Take some time to journal about when your popularity really began to ramp up and how you have changed since that point. Here are some questions to help guide your inquiry:
    • Have you noticed any changes in your close relationships since becoming famous?
    • Have you been accused by others of treating them differently?
    • Are there any notable personality changes that you’ve undergone?
  2. Keep up healthy habits of daily life.If you have just recently become famous, you might be overwhelmed by your new success and visibility. Try to keep up your regular routines, letting them change only when they need to (according to new responsibilities and commitments). Continue using healthy outlets for stress, like spending time alone, eating well, resting, exercising, and keeping up other responsibilities. This will keep you grounded when life feels chaotic.
    • When you are unable to keep up these habits, there is a much higher risk of getting swept up in negative possibilities of fame, like addiction, self-doubt, and wanderlust.
    • Especially if you are young and still in school, let your fame be another element of your life rather than the only thing you focus on.Even if you’re excited and gratified about your success, balance in your life will keep you charged and able to be a good role model in the long run.
  3. Learn not to take judgment and criticism personally.Perhaps the biggest difficulty with fame is that people will try to see in you whatever they want to see. This means that as a celebrity, you become a person toward whom critics and media voices can launch all sorts of opinions.
    • Accept that people will have radically different opinions on your work and your character, and that this is the just the reality of being famous. Cultivate acceptance by laughing off criticism as part of the game, rather than internalizing it.
  4. Keep a tight inner circle.Remember, your inner circle should not just be the people who manage your affairs or who you can boss around. Retain close, mutual friends who nurture you. These real relationships that are not based on your success will be important for keeping you grounded in yourself rather than in your public persona.
    • Fame can put your close relationships to the test, and this is something you should be prepared for. Some people in your life will be very affirmative and excited about your career, and others may end up jealous and competitive for your time.
    • Spend time having one-on-one conversations with your loved ones, explaining to each person your goals, values, and intentions for your relationship during times of your major success.
  5. Stick close to the art that got you famous.Becoming famous can be a time-consuming job in itself, so make sure that you don’t get lost in its trappings. Instead, try to stay centered on the gifts that earned you recognition. Remember that while you may now be a figure unto yourself, it is these specific contributions that really inspire your fans.
    • If you try to keep up the fame itself rather than, say, your music or your trending makeup tutorials, you will get caught up trying to maintain the thrill of success. Let your work thrill you and your fans and admirers will learn to appreciate these things over and above the work you do for your public image.
  6. Hold your ego in check.Your talents are a gift given to you to share with the world. Be proud and enjoy them, but stay grounded. It can become very seductive for the part of us that loves power to see ourselves as inflated compared to others. This attitude can make you treat people poorly without even realizing it.
    • Remember to appreciate all of the opportunities that you get—don’t take them for granted! Be ready to give back and help others who can benefit from your experience with fame.
    • One celebrity went so far as to ask a magazine to take pictures of her with no makeup or retouching so that she could show people that the image of perfection is just an image, not a reality.
    • What’s more, trying to be a celebrity rather than an artist or actor will make it very difficult to stay close to your evolving artistic vision.
  7. Limit your expectations.Our society sets standards for its heroes that are not possible to live up to, and then criticizes and judges them for not maintaining these standards.Remember that you are not flawless, nor do you have to be everything the public expects you to be. Try to maintain your own standards for yourself; these may be quite similar to your standards before you were famous, with the additional acknowledgment of the special responsibilities that fame brings.
    • Especially because many artists are sensitive people, it can be easy to internalize these standards and end up conforming to who others want you to be.
    • If you're an actor, you may encounter the added difficulty of upsetting people by not having the same real-life personality as the character you play. This can be dealt with by addressing how different you are from your character during interviews or on social media.

Keeping your Private Life Separate

  1. Understand why separating private and public life is difficult.We crave attention, but when we get it, we may feel exposed and vulnerable. While fame brings with it certain freedoms, the ones that come with anonymity may become limited. Just as too much of any one thing can be harmful for you, look at your fame as alotof a good thing that you need to keep in check.
  2. Develop your values.Spend time getting to know yourself by journaling or talking with close friends. This will help you keep self-doubt contained. Being in the public eye will make you hyper conscious of your image and your behavior, and this can often lead to intense insecurity.
    • Some actors have success in therapy. There, you can get a clear, solid foundation to stand on when faced with the difficulties of fame.
    • Knowing your stance on relevant public issues will also be a major asset in interviews. If you have strong values you will never be left with nothing to say if people ask for your opinion. This will leave less room for making a faux pas or saying something that becomes controversial.
  3. Set boundaries for yourself.Because of the high demands of fame, you will find yourself needing to say “no” in situations that you are tempted to see through. If you attend an event, for example, make it clear how long you will take questions or whether or not you want people talking to you afterward. By setting the agenda kindly, others will follow suit. This is much better than not making your plans clear and then having to sidestep conversations with eager fans.
    • Remember that you are never obligated to answer questions about your personal life, and some celebrities make it a rule not to.
  4. Temper the urge to Google your name.The problem with Googling your name is that you’ll get the classic mixed bag of high praise and extreme insults. As humans, we tend to focus on the negative things that people say about us because we’re so sensitive to rejection and social exclusion.Google with caution, and whatever you do, don't spend too much time ruminating over negative press.
  5. Use social media strategically.If you decide to make social media a big part of your publicity, make sure that everything you post is politically correct. Controversial statements will give people a great reason to discuss your personality and other intimate details of you and your life. Before long, they'll find something you do or say that contradicts your statement and call you a hypocrite. Be aware that this sort of scrutiny is sometimes inevitable with a big social media presence.
  6. Date people who are not famous.By dating outside of the pool of celebrities, you can avoid sparking intense gossip and public interest in your personal life. Being in a relationship with someone who's not famous will also help keep you grounded in an outsider's perspective of fame.
    • Alternately, you can make it a point to go to major events on your own. If you are sensitive to the media following your relationships, which can be quite a challenge, try keeping your dating life personal altogether.

Dealing with Fans

  1. Understand how others view fame.If you have been famous for a long time or received lots of recognition from a young age, it might be difficult for you to see what other people think about being famous. Try to remember what you thought about celebrities and their lifestyles before you became famous. Knowing this will help you understand how others treat you so that you can respond more gracefully.
  2. Address fans with calm kindness.It's all too easy to negatively affect your image with just one misstep, harsh word, or thoughtless action. Take a minute or two to be friendly with a fan (or a group of fans); most will be respectful of your private time if you provide some degree of openness when in public. Because of inevitable mixed opinions of you that will pop up, many fans end up pleasantly surprised to find that celebrities they like are actually nice.
    • When you talk to individual fans, don't think about maintaining your image or bolstering your reputation. Try to talk to them with empathy, sharing in the excitement of the moment together.
    • If you are faced with a fan who is younger than you for example, it would not be appropriate to act cool and aloof.
    • When responding to fans in comment sections and on social media, keep your replies brief and cheery. If someone else handles this responsibility for you, make sure that you check in with this person to make sure that they are maintaining a fun, carefree voice.
  3. Accept your responsibility.Being famous means recognizing that you have the responsibility to influence people in a serious way. This can be an overwhelming realization, and should not be an excuse to inflate your ego. Just like a comic book hero, responsibility means having respect for the world that you wield influence over. Try not to push your personal agenda--think outside of yourself for things you can do that others will benefit from.
  4. Embrace the voice that comes with fame.Use your fame to inspire your fans to speak up about things they care about. Because there are many eyes on you, you can motivate your fans to accomplish things and emphasize the importance of working toward a greater good more generally.Take advantage of your star power to draw attention to causes you feel strongly about.
  5. Be on the lookout for opportunists.Opportunists are those who seek a relationship or working partnership with you in order to have access to your popularity by association or your financial resources. If someone you don't know asks you to involve him in your fame, and he doesn't seem to be interested in what the work itself is, proceed with caution.
    • Having a strong, responsible hold over your finances will give you a good sense of what sorts of arrangements you can afford to enter into and those you cannot.
      • An awareness of your financial situation can also make it easier to make decision about jobs you want to take and ones you can do without.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    At night some of my fans break into my house. I love my fans, but I don't want it to get this intense. What should I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    What they are doing is illegal. It would be a good idea to get an alarm system. If things still do not get better, call the police.
  • Question
    I have too much fame, I just want it to go away. What do I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Hide from the media, stop posting on social media, stop taking jobs in whatever medium made you famous. Just wait it out, people will forget about you.
  • Question
    Is it fine to murder someone if they're famous?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No. It's not fine to murder anyone.
  • Question
    I have been famous almost my whole life. I never really understood what it felt to not be famous. Can you please tell me what it's like to not be famous?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You spend your life watching all the famous people do all these great and terrible things. You spend your whole life working to be great or end up crashing horribly. You have to work hard for everything, whether it is a nice house or good grades. You need to build everything you have.
  • Question
    Some celebrities burp in front of their fans. Should I also do this?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you want to.
  • Question
    How can I tell if someone really cares about me and doesn't love me for my fame?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The only way to tell is by putting it to the test. Take some time off and spend some quality time with them.
  • Question
    All of my fame is starting to give me depression. What should I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Maybe you should lay low and take a vacation from all of it. It also might help if you sat down and wrote out a gratitude list of all the things that you are grateful for. Once you are ready, you will surely be able to handle anything that goes your way.
Unanswered Questions
  • How do I comfortably deal with my personal problems without the media taking note?
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  • Be ready to defend yourself at any stage. Have a great legal team at your disposal should things become out of hand.
  • Build your brand. Your personal brand is vitally important as a famous person. It's useful to let people get to know you in this way. Do what it takes to guard and maintain your reputation and personal brand.
  • Always remain humble. Stay the person you were before you became famous.


  • Hire security in the event that you feel your life is in danger.

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